You might wonder if wool is a sustainable fabric. The short answer: yes, it is. Here is why:
Wool is an all-natural, renewable fibre with a long lifespan
Wool is a natural fibre. Natural fibres are fibres that come from animals or plants and are totally biodegradable. Wool is made of a natural protein called keratin, similar to that found in human hair. Synthetic fibres on the other hand are man-made and often times petroleum-based.
Sheep grow wool continuously making wool a renewable fibre. Sheep produce a new fleece every year, which can be shorn off again the following year.
Laboratory tests have shown that wool fibers resist tearing and can bend back on themselves more than 20.000 times without breaking. To make a comparison: cotton breaks after 3.200 bends. Due to the long lifespan, wool products are used or worn longer than other textile fibre products.
Did you know?
- Unlike other animals, most sheep are unable to shed. Shearing sheep is usually carried out in the spring so sheep don’t become overheated during the summer. If sheep are not shorn, the excess wool impedes the ability of sheep to regulate their body temperatures which could cause sheep to become overheated. Most sheep breeds need to be sheared at least once a year, although some breeds have wool that grows faster and need more frequent shearing.
- Wool has water repellant properties and is resistant to dirt, meaning that wool textile products tend to be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures, resulting in a lower impact on the environment.
- When wool is being exposed to moisture for long periods, for example in soil or compost, the fibre will readily decompose. Meaning that your wool product is completely biodegradable.
In conclusion, wool can be seen as a sustainable and planet-friendly fibre.